Hollywood Undead were born in theunderground.
They survive there, they thrive there,and they'll die there. Ever since they clawed their way into the mainstreamwith their 2008 near platinum-selling debut SwanSongs and its acclaimed 2010 follow-up American Tragedy, the masked Los Angelescollective—Johnny 3 Tears, J-Dog, Charlie Scene, Danny, Funny Man, and DaKurlzz—never lost sight of where they came from. Their third full-length album Notes From The Underground emergesdirectly from that same place behind the curtain, underneath the veneer, andinside the darkest heart of their city. These are their Notes scribed in tears, blood, and truth.
The group didn't waste any time gettingto work. While finishing up a final tour supporting AmericanTragedy alongside Avenged Sevenfold, themembers commenced writing on the bus in December 2011. Throwing conventions andexpectations out the window, the band approached the creative process with thesame freedom that's been embedded in their music and ethos since day one.Naturally, they distilled heavy rock, sly hip-hop, grimy industrial, andswaggering punk into a potent brew all their own.
"We didn't scrutinize what wedid," affirms J-Dog. "We wrote from our hearts. I feel like we gotback to something pure. We're making music because it's what we do."Johnny 3 Tears agrees sharing, "This was probably the best time we hadmaking a record. It's still Hollywood Undead, but we've grown, and that’s whatwe want to continue to do.”
The band regrouped in Los Angeles withproducers Griffin Boice, Sam & Sluggo, and Danny Lohner to cut what wouldbecome Notes From The Underground last winter. The results display Hollywood Undead show nosigns of slowing down on explosive new anthems like "We Are" and"Dead Bite." The latter slips from a skittering groove into a snappybeat, while the production warbles like a '60s B-movie horror soundtrack.Johnny 3 Tears, Charlie Scene, and J-Dog trade hilarious and hypnotic barbs asDanny pristinely croons, "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the deadbite." It's perfect for any zombie dance party.
On the other end of the spectrum, theycrafted a pensive and propulsive fire-starter on "Believe.” Shimmering keyboards resound alongside aguitar crunch that's completely arena-ready. "No matter how bad someoneis, there's still some good in there, there is hope for everybody," says Johnny 3 tears of the track. J-Dogcontinues "You might have a friend who seems as bad as people get, buthe'd take a bullet for you. You could be a rotten asshole, but there's still somethinggood in you. The song reflects both sides of the coin."
The first single, "We Are",exudes punchy power. It reunites the band with "Undead" and"Young" producer Danny Lohner [Nine Inch Nails, Puscifer], and it'san epic call-to-arms laced with gnashing guitars, lyrical jabs, and fierybeats.
Johnny 3 Tears explains, "The songis about collective resistance. It's the silent majority, but we're using LosAngeles as the backdrop. Every time we work with Danny, he takes our music tothe next level. He's willing to go as far outside the box as we are. As awhole, it's a good introduction to Notes from the Underground because itencompasses the band idealistically. Think of it as an ode to our misledyouth."
They once again delve into darkness on"Lion.” Penned by Johnny 3 Tearsmuch like fan favorites "Paradise Lost" and "Pour Me," it'sa raw and real exploration of not fitting in that's bound to resonate immenselywith their devout, diehard following.
"That one is like mycatharsis," sighs Johnny 3 Tears. "It's really dark. My life haschanged a lot since the last record. I feel like if I don't use theseexperiences in our songs then I shouldn't be writing songs at all. If you everfind yourself looking at some suburban sprawl and wondering how the fuck yougot there, you'll understand"
Nevertheless, that's the reason thegroup continue to connect with an entire generation. That loyal fan communitywill only strengthen with this record because of Hollywood Undead's unflinchinghonesty.
"Nothing could change us or ourmusic," assures J-Dog. "We may change the method but not themessage."
Hence, the title Notes From The Underground. Anhomage to the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel—a Johnny 3 Tears personal favorite—themoniker alludes to what's really under the mask.
"We've maintained an undergroundidentity," he goes on. "When we write songs, we're coming from aplace people don't like to look at or talk about openly. As people get older,they get used to lying. We have a bond with so many kids because they have atrace of that honesty. They don't know how bad some things get yet. We tellthem the truth."
That truth has defined Hollywood Undeadsince day one. As a result, Swan Songs hasmoved well over 900,000 copies, and AmericanTragedy debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at #4with first-week sales exceeding 67,000. They've played sold out headline showsall over the world as well as rousing appearances at festivals such as the UK'sDownload andRock on the Range, Epicenter, and more in the U.S. Their music has also received primeplacements everywhere from the trailer trailer for Paramount's hit film, G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra to Madden NFL 2009. Meanwhile, in 2011, legends such asJonathan Davis of Korn and KMFDM contributed remixes to American Tragedy Redux.
Even as the legend expands, HollywoodUndead will never lose their roots in the Underground.
"We stay true to who we aremusically," concludes Danny. "If even just one kid identifies withwhat we do, we've done our job." — RickFlorino, August 2012
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